In some cases, the need for veterinary care is self-evident; if a pet is bleeding, has been injured, is vomiting or has had a seizure, most owners don’t hesitate to call the clinic. But many illnesses or conditions, with equally or even more serious potential outcomes, initially present with symptoms that many owners may not perceive as concerning.
The following is a list of some of these more subtle signs of illness that always warrant consulting with your veterinarian.
If your pet has access to a refillable water source and generally urinates outside, this can be a symptom that is easily overlooked. If you notice that your pet seems to constantly be at their water bowl , asking to go our more frequently or you notice you are changing the litter box much more often, call the clinic and make an appointment. A marked increase in the amount your pet is drinking (and thus, urinating) is almost always cause for concern. Most commonly this is associated with diabetes or kidney disease but can be caused by myriad other conditions including poisoning, hormonal conditions and bladder infections.
Some serious illnesses start out with symptoms that many owners may not find overly concerning.
UNEXPLAINED WEIGHT LOSS
While obesity is a problem that affects an estimated 50-60% of pet dogs and cats in North America, not all weight loss should be celebrated. Unless there have been specific changes in your pet’s diet or amount of physical activity, weight loss of more than 10% of his or her body weight could indicate a serious underlying medical issue: metabolic disorders, neuromuscular disease, heart disease or cancer. In other cases a systemic illness can cause a loss of appetite ultimately leading to weight loss. If your pet has noticeably lost weight and you don’t know why, a trip to the doctor is definitely warranted.
When it comes to eyes, you can’t mess around. In almost all cases there is a small window of time in which serious conditions or injuries can be successfully treated.
If you notice any swelling or significant redness or change in the appearance of your pet’s eye(s) or if your pet’s eye seems painful (squinting in one or both eyes) call the clinic right away. A veterinarian will need to assess the eye as soon as possible.
If your pets gums are naturally black this can be a challenge to detect but not impossible. Pale gums can indicate anemia, blood loss or shock. Call your veterinarian right away.
While obesity is a problem that affects an estimated 50-60% of North American dogs and cats, not all weight loss is cause for celebration.
In dogs, laboured breathing isn’t generally a symptom that one would classify as easy to overlook but in cats it sometimes can be
Normally cats breath with small movements of its and cats, unlike dogs, do not pant under normal circumstances. If your cat’s sides are moving a large amount, or is panting or open mouth breathing, you should call the clinic right away as this may be a symptom of urgent heart and/or lung disease.
LITTER BOX ISSUES
Cats that are suddenly making frequent trips to the litter box while producing little to no urine need to be seen by a veterinarian right away. This behaviour could indicate a urinary obstruction. A complete urinary obstruction can cause death within a fairly short period of time. Obstructions happen mostly in male cats but can affect females, too. Your cat may cry, be restless, groom excessively, or hide because of the discomfort. An obstruction is a critical emergency that can progress to acute kidney failure, bladder rupture, and even cardiac arrest.
If you ever have concerns about your pet’s health, don’t hesitate to call the clinic for advice. We are here and happy to help.